High school athletes volunteer to coach others
Sophomore Liz Levandoski has been coaching fencing for almost three years. She coaches beginner fencers from ages 10-14 during the fall and spring in the gym at Lillie B. Elementary School. Levandoski volunteers for this coaching through a program run by Parks and Recreation. In the beginning class, Levandoski teaches the kids the basics of fencing such as how to hold the sword and the ‘en garde” stance. As the children move up into more intermediate classes, they start to learn more advanced skills like how to both attack and defend. Levandoski attended these classes when she started as a beginner fencer which eventually sparked her passion for the sport.“My favorite part [of coaching] is just being able to work with the kids and watch them advance. I love seeing them continue to come back for more classes,” said Levandoski.
Junior Sydney Taylor volunteers three days a week coaching young cheerleaders. In the the previous two years, she coached ages 5-7 however this year, she is coaching 8 and 9 year olds. The group holds their practices in the gym at both East Lyme Middle School and Flanders Elementary. Taylor grew up cheering in the youth league for eight years which is what inspired her to become a coach for the sport she loves herself. During the young cheerleaders season, Taylor helps to make a routine for the kids and slowly teaches them to perform it. “My favorite part of coaching cheerleading is watching the girls compete in November because all their hard work is shown during their performance,” said Taylor.
Junior Erin Bauman started her coaching career just three weeks ago and dedicates two hours of her Saturday mornings to coach soccer. Bauman is the assistant coach to eight kindergarteners learning how to play. Bauman learns the drills that she will eventually teach the kids from a coach from Youth Elite Soccer, which is a program that pairs up with East Lyme Youth Soccer to help teach players and coaches. Along with these drills, Bauman plays fun soccer games with the kids because “it’s important to have a balance in order to keep the young kids entertained.”
“I’ve been wanting to coach young kids soccer for a while because it’s a really good way to give back to the youth program that I grew up playing in. Most of all, it’s a lot of fun to see the kids develop more skills and a love for the sport each week,” said Bauman.
Sophomore Hrishi Deshpande’s passion for karate led him to start teaching others the sport. Deshpande has been coaching karate students ranging from young kids to grown adults for over three years at Gabrieles Martial Arts in Waterford. During the two times a week he teaches, Deshpande also attends karate practice himself. He has been practicing karate for over eight years and is a second degree black belt. Deshpande teaches everything spanning from the basics to advanced black belt forms. He first teaches “katas” which are certain strikes which are eventually paired with other katas and put together in a sequence to perform.
“Karate helped me to break out of my comfort zone and I wanted to help give that opportunity to others. My favorite thing is seeing their smiles when they have a ‘eureka’ moment and finally understand how to do something that I taught them,” said Deshpande.